Entertainment

Emmys 2022: Ted Lasso, Succession take a victory lap — and Sheryl Lee Ralph sings

During Monday night’s 74th Emmy Awards, The White Lotus and Abbott Elementary won big while Ted Lasso and Succession — winning best comedy and best drama series, respectively — added yet another handful of golden statuettes to their growing collections.

Abbott Elementary star breaks out in song during rousing acceptance speech

Sheryl Lee Ralph accepts the outstanding supporting actress in a comedy award for Abbott Elementary onstage during the 74th Primetime Emmys on Monday in Los Angeles. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

During Monday night's 74th Emmy Awards, The White Lotus and Abbott Elementary won big while Ted Lasso and Succession — winning best comedy and best drama series, respectively — added yet another handful of golden statuettes to their growing collections.

While Kenan Thompson shined as a first-time host — and a slight format shakeup, with an announcer and DJ present to move the proceedings along — the party really started when Oprah Winfrey took the stage to pump up nominees during "a celebration of the most successful broadcast medium in the world." 

Yet it was Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak who best summed up the present state of television. 

The current "lazy" generation of TV writers were lucky to be working on short-season formats with "unlimited time and resources," joked the comedy veterans, who worked on The Office during an era of tight network budgets and 22-episode seasons.

It was an apropos observation during a year when streaming services were willing to spend unprecedented amounts of money on TV production — though Thompson noted Netflix's faltering business model — and movie stars made splashy turns on the small screen.

Sheryl Lee Ralph makes moment of the night

The evening's best moment happened 45 minutes into the show, as Sheryl Lee Ralph of Abbott Elementary, one of few standout network series, won the award for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy. 

The 65-year-old actress, her head and hair bedazzled with small jewels, appeared in shock before rising up to the stage, accepting her award and unexpectedly belting out the first few bars of Dianne Reeves' 1993 song, Endangered Species.

She gave a rousing speech to cap off the quintessentially TV moment: "To anyone who has ever, ever had a dream and thought your dream wasn't, wouldn't, couldn't come true," Ralph said, "I am here to tell you that this is what believing looks like. This is what striving looks like. 

"And don't you ever, ever give up on you," she added. The win makes Ralph the second Black woman to win the Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy, 35 years after Jackée Harry won for 227.

Quinta Bronson, who created, stars and writes Abbott Elementary, won the prize for outstanding writing for a comedy series.

Wins for Lizzo, Squid Game

Lizzo, winner of the outstanding competition program award for Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, attends the 74th Primetime Emmys on Sept. 12, 2022 in Los Angeles, Calif. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Later, singer and rapper Lizzo accepted the award for outstanding competition program for her reality series, Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls.  Giving an emotional and exuberant speech — she beckoned the "big girls" in the crowd to join her onstage — Lizzo recalled what it was like to grow up seeing few plus-sized Black women on TV.

"When I was a little girl, all I wanted to see was me in the media. Someone fat like me. Black like me. Beautiful like me," she said. 

Gesturing to the series' participants, who flanked her onstage, Lizzo added that their stories weren't necessarily unique: "They just don't get the platform," she said.

Squid Game, the South Korean horror series that became a global sensation, became the first non-English language series to compete for television's top honour. While it didn't win the award for outstanding drama series, it took home wins for directing and acting.

"I truly hope Squid Game won't be the last non-English series to win here at the Emmys," said creator Hwang Dong-Hyuk as he accepted the award for outstanding direction (drama series). Later, the Netflix show's lead actor Lee Jung-jae edged out Bob Odenkirk, Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Jason Bateman and Adam Scott, to win outstanding actor in a drama series.

The White Lotus drowns out competition

From left, Murray Bartlett, Sydney Sweeney, Natasha Rothwell, Steve Zahn, Jennifer Coolidge, Alexandra Daddario, Mike White, and Connie Britton pose after The White Lotus wins outstanding limited anthology series or movie at the Emmy Awards. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Beyond Lee and Ralph's acting wins, many of the victors were repeats from 2020 and 2021. 

For his role in Ted Lasso, Jason Sudeikis took home the prize for outstanding actor in a comedy series for the second consecutive year. Zendaya, who won for outstanding actress in a drama series for Euphoria, was first given the prize in 2020. Hacks' Jean Smart won for outstanding actress in a comedy series this year and last. 

Both Ted Lasso, which won outstanding comedy series, and Succession, which won outstanding drama series, were second-time winners of the top prizes in their respective categories.

HBO miniseries The White Lotus held its own in a year filled with high-profile contenders like Dopesick, Pam and Tommy, Inventing Anna and The Dropout

The program won outstanding limited or anthology series, while its seasoned character actors Murray Bartlett and Jennifer Coolidge were awarded for their work on the show.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jenna Benchetrit is a web journalist for CBC News. Based in Toronto and born in Montreal, she holds a master's degree in journalism from Ryerson University. Reach her at jenna.benchetrit@cbc.ca or on Twitter @jennabenchetrit.

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